- We are not always aware of just how much subconscious baggage we carry with us, even when it comes to a hobby. When I was preparing for this playtest, I was thinking about purely practical matters, how to squeeze the most 40 mm figures into each unit so that I could use existing armies on the grid with the rule being tested.
It came as a surprise, a pleasant one once I got over the shock, when I had a nostalgic, emotional response to the look and feel of the game as well as a sudden rush of ideas and urges to do things like fight some historical battles.
|An artist's inaccurate portrayal of the initial clash. The Volunteer Rifles were soon driven back by the Victoria Rifles and Royals.|
Oddly enough The Square Brigadier originally started out, not as my equivalent to Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame but merely as a pen name for a rough draft of a grid friendly version of HofT. This leaves me once again without a small introductory or casual game, so that will something to fix down the road but the question is resolved, it will be a sort of self contained 'game in a box'.
|With Blue's flank guard driven in, and their bridge guard being attacked from 2 directions and about to be driven back in turn, the battlelines begin to form across the center of the table.|
So what does the revised Hearts of Tin look like and why is it one vs the other? While it is still a simple game that glosses over low level tactics, it is once again trying to work something along the lines of how things work without the gamy (sic) bits. So, no shuffling dice, no card decks to manage, no random retreats. The goal is to primarily pretend to be a General issuing missions to subordinates and watching to see how they do and whether to reinforce success or intervene to stave off defeat. Obviously if playing solo there is a little bit of also being the subordinates doing what they can to accomplish their missions.
Written game orders would be nice but I know I won't bother when playing solo so I didn't bother pretending. Everything has been considered in that light, what will I be happy dealing with day in, day out.
I couldn't figure out what the handing out of dice by the general actually represented so I went back to the simplest form of orders dice, rolling for each commander leaving each to do his best to carry out his mission with the General prodding him a bit where needed by lending extra orders, best done if close at hand. This made it easy to bring back +1/-1 modifiers for commanders judged better or worse than average.
|Low order dice and a confused situation lead to a lull as both sides reform their lines and bring up cavalry and artillery while trading skirmish and artillery fire .|
Stands of troops (or groups of single figures) are once again reflective of numbers, about 150 infantry on average though this can be adjusted up and down and the ground scale with it but I have overcome prejudice and not worried too much about the size and shape of bases, treating a formation of deployed infantry the same whether it is 2 bases wide and 2 deep, with a single line of figures on each base, or 4 bases side by side with figures based 2 deep. I didn't waste pixels trying to lay it all out, as long as everyone agrees, a deployed unit is a deployed unit.
|The San Carlos grenadiers resist stoutly as Red's attack stalls. A prolonged firefight ensues.|
The game also fit perfectly into my miniature painting/collecting plans. At the scale envisaged with figures representing somewhere between 20 and 40 men, 1812 battles will fit on the table and I enough figures to fill the OB though not all of the right units in a style I like to allow the larger battles to be fought without borrowing. This means I get to paint a hundred or so miniatures plus guns, boats, limbers etc and a few more Commanders but don't need much more and that I am well placed for fictional Atlantica games.The Sash & Saber 1812 figures can now be sold anytime and the AWI figures as soon as the game at Huzzah is played.
Having backed off from tying the game to a grid I'll have to decide if I want to persevere with gridded terrain upstairs or to do some red/white measuring sticks and leave the grid for the game in a box. I'll also need to decide whether or not to indulge in a separate set of 1860's 40mm toy soldiers just for the pleasure of painting them or if I should limit those to colonial skirmish games.
At any rate, the rules, while still missing some of the less common elements like the handful of VSF elements etc which need to be imported from the old HofT and needing 7 or 8 more proof readings, are ready for public perusal again. The result can be found at right or by following this link: Hearts of Tin Rules.